Coronavirus: James Bond Postpones Release Date Because It’s No Time To Die

The release of upcoming James Bond film “No Time To Die” has been pushed back from April To November due to coronavirus fears. “The 25th installment in the storied spy franchise will commence its run on Nov. 12 in the U.K., followed by the U.S. on Nov. 25,” reports The Hollywood Reporter. “It was scheduled to open in North America on April 10.” From the report: Relocating a tentpole and restarting a marketing campaign that was in full swing is a Herculean task but insiders say hundreds of millions of dollars hung in the balance decision of the ongoing cinema blackout in China and a downturn in moviegoing in markets where COVID-19 is a major issue, including South Korea, Italy and Japan. And there’s concern that by early April, other markets could be impacted. “MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, announced today that after careful consideration and thorough evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace, the release of No Time to Die will be postponed until November 2020,” read a statement issued by the three parties.

In its new date, No Time to Die has the advantage of going out over the lucrative Thanksgiving holiday in North America (many previous Bond movies also opened in November). The other major 2020 Thanksgiving tentpole is Godzilla vs. Kong, which debuts domestically on Nov. 20. As the coronavirus first began to spread, publicity tours for the movie in China, South Korea and Japan were canceled, and No Time To Die’s release in Hong Kong was pushed back until April 30. Aside for the concerns over audience members, the letter said the ongoing coronavirus outbreak could seriously impact the film’s box office, noting that the countries to have banned or restricted large public gatherings — including China, Italy, France, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea — contributed some 38 percent of the total global earnings for the last Bond movie, 2015’s Spectre.

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Samsung tries to make ultra-curved office monitors a thing with new T55 lineup

Samsung has revealed a lineup of productivity, home, and office-targeted monitors with 1000R curvature. Labeled the T55 series, these new monitors take a concept Samsung already applied to gaming monitors earlier this year at CES and makes the case that there’s value in an ultra-curved form for more than just gamers, who have more often been adopters of curved displays.

Carrying the monikers C24T55, C27T55, and C32T55 at 24, 27, and 32 inches respectively, each monitor has a 75Hz refresh rate and AMD FreeSync support. Gamers sometimes seek monitors with higher 120 or 144Hz refresh rates, but in this case, the goal is just to make scrolling through documents that much smoother—no more, no less.

Other shared specs include 4ms response times, 250 nits of maximum brightness, 3,000:1 typical contrast ratios, 1,920 by 1,080-pixel resolutions, and VA panels.

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Source: Tech – Ars Technica

Tech firms push telework as Amazon employee confirmed with coronavirus

Multistory glass and brick building with the word Google on its side.

Enlarge / Google’s Dublin, Ireland, headquarters, currently sitting mostly empty as the 8,000 workers based there have all been told to work remotely. (credit: Hollie Adams | Bloomberg | Getty Images)

The spread of the novel coronavirus is doing for tech firms what no other argument for remote work apparently could, as Google, Facebook, and others are asking employees to stay home while they do their jobs.

Those policies are looking ever more like sensible precautions, as this week Amazon has confirmed that an employee based in Seattle tested positive for the virus. The employee apparently went home feeling sick on February 25 and has not returned to the office since. Two Amazon employees based in Italy also are confirmed to have contracted the virus.

Washington state’s King County—home to Seattle and its tech-heavy suburbs Kirkland, Redmond, and Bellevue—is the site of the biggest US outbreak of COVID-19 so far. Microsoft, which is also based in the Seattle area, is now allowing employees based in its Seattle or San Francisco offices to work remotely through at least March 9.

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Struggling AT&T plans “tens of billions” in cost cuts, more layoffs

An AT&T service van driving on a freeway.

Enlarge / AT&T service van driving in June 2019 in Oakdale, California. (credit: Getty Images | Andrei Stanescu)

AT&T is planning tens of billions of dollars worth of cost cuts, AT&T President and COO John Stankey told investors yesterday. Stankey also discussed the future of DirecTV satellite service, saying it won’t be the primary TV option AT&T pitches to most customers going forward.

For the company-wide cuts, AT&T management “has looked at effectively 10 broad initiatives that we believe can generate double digits of billions over a 3-year planning cycle,” Stankey said at a Morgan Stanley conference, according to a transcript posted by AT&T.

One of the first of those 10 initiatives will include job cuts, which Stankey called “headcount rationalization.” Stankey noted that AT&T has already been cutting jobs but said the company plans “additional work” in that area:

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CRISPR Used To Edit Genes Inside a Patient With a Rare Form of Blindness

An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: For the first time, scientists have used the gene-editing technique CRISPR to try to edit a gene while the DNA is still inside a person’s body. The groundbreaking procedure involved injecting the microscopic gene-editing tool into the eye of a patient blinded by a rare genetic disorder, in hopes of enabling the volunteer to see. They hope to know within weeks whether the approach is working and, if so, to know within two or three months how much vision will be restored. Before this step, doctors had only used CRISPR to try to treat a small number of patients who have cancer, or the rare blood disorders sickle cell anemia or beta-thalassemia.

In this new experiment, doctors at the Casey Eye Institute in Portland, Ore., injected (into the eye of a patient who is nearly blind from a condition called Leber congenital amaurosis) microscopic droplets carrying a harmless virus that had been engineered to deliver the instructions to manufacture the CRISPR gene-editing machinery. Beginning in infancy, the rare genetic condition progressively destroys light-sensing cells in the retina that are necessary for vision. Vision impairment with LCA varies widely, but most patients are legally blind and are only able to differentiate between light and dark or perhaps to detect movement. The goal is that once the virus carrying the CRISPR instructions has been infused into the eye, the gene-editing tool will slice out the genetic defect that caused the blindness. That would, the researchers hope, restore production of a crucial protein and prevent the death of cells in the retina, as well as revive other cells — enabling patients to regain at least some vision.

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Los Angeles-Area Officials Declare Emergency After Confirming Six New Coronavirus Cases Over 48 hours

Los Angeles-area officials have discovered six new COVID-19 cases in the county over the last 48 hours, prompting them to declare a local emergency to help free up federal and state funding. From a report: Kathryn Barger, chairwoman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, told reporters Wednesday that she just signed a proclamation declaring a local emergency. “I want to reiterate that this is not a response rooted in panic,” she said. County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis said the proclamation allows local officials “to further draw down resources from both the federal and state level of government.” Health officials for the City of Pasadena and City of Long Beach said they, too, plan to declare a local emergencies later Wednesday. The new cases in Los Angeles County bring the state’s total to 35, more than any other state, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Washington state, where at least nine people have died, there are at least 27 cases. There haven’t been any fatalities outside of Washington.

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Twitter is Testing Ephemeral Tweets

Since it was founded in March 2006, there has been only one type of post possible on Twitter: a tweet. But starting today, the 280-character post is being joined by an ephemeral South American cousin: the fleet. That’s what Twitter is calling these new, more fleeting tweets — posts that appear in a separate timeline above the main timeline for 24 hours before disappearing. From a report: In other words, yes, Twitter is finally doing Snapchat Stories, and the implementation looks nearly identical to Instagram’s version of the feature. “Twitter is for having conversations about what you care about,” Mo Aladham, a Twitter group product manager, said in a blog post. “But, some of you tell us that you’re uncomfortable to tweet because tweets are public, feel permanent, and have public counts (retweets and likes). We want to make it possible for you to have conversations in new ways with less pressure and more control, beyond tweets and direct messages. That’s why starting today in Brazil, we’re testing fleets, a new way to start conversations from your fleeting thoughts.”

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You can now jailbreak an iPhone with an Android phone

Two smartphones side-by-side.

Enlarge / Android teaches a young iPhone all about privilege escalation. (credit: Stblr / Reddit)

We all have our differences in the tech world—PC versus Mac, Android versus iOS, Emacs versus Vim. Occasionally, though, we can reach out to our friends across the aisle and realize that, at the end of the day, we’re not all that different. Today’s uplifting message of unity comes from the two main smartphone factions sharing in the joys of privilege escalation: it’s now possible for a rooted Android phone to jailbreak iOS.

As first spotted by XDA Developers, Reddit user Stblr put the jailbreak puzzle pieces together when iOS jailbreaking exploit “Checkra1n” gained Linux support, which means it can also run on Android. If you have a rooted phone, you can plug your Android phone into your iPhone, run a few terminal commands, and break out of the Apple sandbox.

Checkra1n is the first jailbreak compatible with iOS 13, and it works on the iPhone 5 to iPhone X, running iOS 12.3 and up. It’s only a temporary jailbreak, though, and will get wiped out once the phone reboots. This makes an ultra-portable device that can kick your iPhone back over into jailbreak mode pretty handy, and—for now at least—Android phones are still a bit smaller than laptops.

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Source: Tech – Ars Technica

Facebook Has a Prescription: More Pharmaceutical Ads

An anonymous reader shares a report: After years of avoiding social media, drug companies are growing bolder about advertising on Facebook and other social networks, according to interviews with advertising executives, marketers, health-care privacy researchers and patient advocates. That is exposing loopholes around the way data can be used to show consumers relevant ads about their personal health, even as both social networks and pharmaceutical manufacturers disavow targeting ads to people based on their medical conditions. Ads promoting prescription drugs are popping up on Facebook for depression, HIV and cancer. Spending on Facebook mobile ads alone by pharmaceutical and health-care brands reached nearly a billion dollars in 2019, nearly tripling over two years, according to Pathmatics, an advertising analytics company. Facebook offers tools to help drug companies stay compliant with rules about disclosing safety information or reporting side effects.

But seeing an ad for a drug designed to treat a person’s particular health condition in the relatively intimate setting of a social media feed — amid pictures of friends and links to news articles — can feel more intrusive than elsewhere online. The same opaque Facebook systems that help place an ad for a political campaign or a new shoe in a user’s feed also can be used by pharmaceutical companies, allowing them to target consumers who match certain characteristics or had visited a particular website in the past. The ability of drug companies to reach people likely to have specific health conditions — a far cry from a magazine or TV ad — underscores how the nation’s health privacy law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), has not kept up with the times. HIPAA, which safeguards personal health records, typically does not cover drug companies or social media networks.

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China Tech Groups Censored Information About Coronavirus

Chinese social media platforms, including Tencent’s WeChat, censored keywords related to coronavirus as early as December [Editor’s note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source], potentially limiting the Chinese public’s ability to protect themselves from the virus. From a report: Beijing has strictly controlled access to information throughout the coronavirus outbreak, which has killed more than 3,000 people worldwide. Research by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, one of the first reports into information control during the outbreak, say the censorship started in the early stages of the crisis. Authorities blocked a wide range of speech — including criticism of the central government — in a bid to control the narrative and manage public sentiment. Public anger over the outbreak, the biggest crisis Xi Jinping has faced since becoming president, has largely been directed towards local rather than central government officials. But critics allege that Beijing’s response severely hampered the effort to contain the outbreak. “The broad censorship of the coronavirus we found is significant because blocking general information during a health crisis can limit the public’s ability to be informed and protect themselves,” said Lotus Ruan, a researcher at Citizen Lab.

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